Wednesday, January 21, 2009

here kitty kitty

My cat, Calpurrnia (callie for short), is a hoot.

Not a gluten free post, but a really cute cat being really clever with her food robot.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Girls Night In

I'm having the girls over tonight for games, wine and snacks. We don't get together nearly often enough so it's always nice when we do.

Tonight the girls are coming over after jazzercise class for which I've been banished from per my orthopedist (knee issues)...otherwise I'd be there first too. I always got hungry after working out, so I want to have various foods for snacking.

Tonights menu options:
cheese & crackers
Mini Quiche
Personal Chocolate Cheesecakes (recipe below)
Popovers with butter and/or strawberry jam (recipe coming soon)

Personal Chocolate Cheesecakes

Preheat oven to 350

1 box Pamela's Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies
1 Tbsp margarine

In food processor, process cookies until crumbs. Add in margarine and continue to pulse until fully combined.

Press into the bottoms and partially up the sides of 6 ramekins. Place ramekins on cookie sheet or inside large baking dish and bake crust for 7-8 minutes.

1 package fat free cream cheese, softened
1 Tbsp margarine
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp honey
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp tapioca starch
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

In a medium bowl add cream cheese, margarine, sugar and honey and mix with electric mixer until fully combined and no lumps in cream cheese. Add egg, vanilla and tapioca starch and blend again till well mixed, approximately 90 seconds.

Spoon half the batter into a separate bowl.

In another small bowl add chocolate chips. Place in microwave on medium heat for 60 seconds. Stir. If not completely melted, set on medium and heat for another 20 seconds until melted. Always stir between meltings as chocolate doesn't change shape until stirred, so it's melted-ness is deceiving.

Pour chocolate into one of the cheesecake filling batter bowls. Stir until fully mixed in.

Spoon in the plain cheesecake mixture evenly into the ramekins. Top with the chocolate cheesecake mixture. Using a toothpick, swirl the two together.

Place ramekins into a large pyrex-type casserole dish. Fill halfway up the sides of the casserole with water. This is known as a water bath and is useful to keep cheesecakes baking slowly and help prevent the cracks that sometimes form during baking. (Never use a water bath if using springform pans. Springform pans are not watertight.)

Place on the center rack in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, remove from casserole dish and set out to cool. When cool to the touch, place in refrigerator till time to serve so they are fully set.

Makes 6 personal cheesecakes

I'm still working on my popover recipe, so if it all goes as planned, I'll have some for tonight and I'll take pictures and post that recipe too.

Monday, January 12, 2009

it's a sad day for corn chips

I love Tostito's Bite Sized Gold corn chips. They are thick and great for hearty dips and/or for making nachos. They hold up well to melty cheesy goodness. They stay crispy. AND when you open the bag, the majority of the chips are NOT broken already because they aren't fragile like too many corn chips. They are my perfect corn chip. The only ones I buy. ever. period.

My last 3 trips to the grocery, they have been out of them. the 2nd time I couldn't find them I asked a lady about them and she looked in the back but said they didn't have any. She told me she'd ask the Frito Lay rep when he came by later that day, but the last time I was there, they were also out.

I emailed Frito Lay (which is headquartered about 3 miles from my house) about it. Mostly to let them know that they are the best chips in the whole wide world and I recommend them to everyone I meet and that now I cannot find them anywhere and this makes me very disappointed. (I use a lot of runon sentences when I'm passionate, evidently).

I received a very kind email today from Frito Lay letting me know that they have been discontinued due to slow sales. She also said she'd make sure the sales and marketing team get a copy of my email.

One person cannot cause a nationwide product to come back, but I sure wish it were possible. I really LOVE those chips and I am unhappy I'll never have them again. I do not want to find a new chip.

If you've ever had them and if you also love them, let Frito Lay know. They have a comments form on their website. I believe I sent mine in as a "product compliment"...because I DO love the chips so much.

Here's to hoping I get lucky and can get more of them.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Black Bean Enchiladas

I haven't been cooking. Oh I've been baking like crazy but I haven't been cooking and I kinda miss it. I think I've been getting caught up on not knowing what to make since becoming a vegetarian. Also, Steve and I have been going out to eat or eating something super easy at home like sammiches or wraps (Bread of Life makes a good Brown Rice tortilla).

However, over the last couple days I've been wanting to cook something and as I was laying down last night I remembered how I used to make these really great sour cream chicken enchiladas...and I thought of ways to adapt it so that I can eat home made enchiladas again, quick and easy. This makes several trays of enchilada's. I ended up freezing half and cooking half now.

Fast and Simple Black Bean Enchiladas

Preheat oven to 350

corn tortillas
1 can black beans
1 can Original RoTel
1 can corn and peppers (whole kernel corn with red and green bell peppers)
1 box Mori-Nu Silken Firm Tofu (finely diced)
1 can Enchilada Sauce (read the labels and find one that is GF) I chose a basic Red sauce.
1 can vegetarian refried beans
1 cup shredded cheese

Dice tofu and add to sauce pan. Drain black beans, and Corn and add to tofu. Pour in RoTel (undrained). Stir gently to mix.

Now stir in 1/2 can Enchilada Sauce and 1/2 can refried beans. Stir gently until sauce and beans have mixed and heat until warm.

Spray Pam lightly into large glass casserole dish. Spoon some of the tofu mix into center of one tortilla and sprinkle a little cheese on. Roll up tortilla and place seam side down into casserole dish. Repeat till dish is full...This makes a lot of filling and I ended up with 2 large dishes to freeze and one to eat now! :)

Drizzle the rest of the enchilada sauce over top of the enchiladas and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle tops with remaining cheese and cook until cheese melts (5-10 mins).

I also made my enchiladas with handmade corn tortillas. It takes a few minutes longer than buying them pre-made but they taste really awesome.

Friday, January 2, 2009

pre-made GF brownie impression

no recipe today, but I did want to comment on the Kinnikinnick Brownie.

It's delicious.

I can buy it at my local Kroger, which is awesome. I was a little skeptical at first, but I took it from the freezer and let the tray set on the counter for an hour or so and then they were soft enough to cut.

They were still cool. The texture was good, and the flavor is tremendous. It's chocolatey, it's a little cakey, but still fudgey too. I warmed one up in the microwave for just a few seconds and it was fudgier. I won't say it was better tasting, because it seemed the same to me, but if you specifically like fudgey brownies, then heating a little is the way to go. I liked both ways. Hubby likes them both ways too.

One thing I did notice is that if you let them thaw out completely, the top gets a little flakey and separates from the rest of the brownie. If you only let it thaw enough to soften, it's much easier to cut and the top stays put...Also, store them in a zip lock (or other air tight container) and they'll last a week in the refrigerator.

The brownies were so good, and their website has so many GF products, that I might make an order. I might even try their bread...I've not had sliced bread in roughly 2 years. I might get back in the habit of having yummy sammiches.